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Agba Baller

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Many of your Agba Ballers are into fraud, money laundering and shady businesses with a legal business as a front, and you see them as the pinnacle of success, your mentors, living the life of your dreams. Iranu! 

…the actual, real, extremely wealthy Agba Ballers are not constantly in your faces on social media or anywhere, showing off their legally earned wealth

ONE of the interesting moments in a typical Nigerian wedding, aside from the glitz and glamour of wearing identical colours and fabric called aso ebi, is the part where the live band begins to supply music and the dance floor is open to displays of various dance steps, and money starts flying around. If you attend Naija weddings a lot and you pay attention to this moment, you will notice different sets of people on the dance floor. The first set is those who steal the show with their skilled dance moves. They come prepared to have the time of their lives. On the other hand, some people come to the dance floor to spray the small change in their hands as if they are dropping thanksgiving offerings in church. They simply spray some money and go back to their seats, but you see, there is another set of people who come to the dance floor, not prepared to dance; in fact, they usually do not move their bodies; they always look so serious because they come to spray money. When you see how they effortlessly spray bundles of new naira and dollar notes, you will look at them and wonder how a human being like you would stand on a spot and spray such an amount of money without thinking about it. Their facial expression does not even suggest that they are worried about spraying the money. You will think you have seen it all until you attend a rich Igbo man’s wedding. Then you will know that there is money and there is Igbo man’s money.

At one Igbo wedding I was invited to, I was surprised to see how money was flying everywhere and how new dollar notes were thrown effortlessly, bundle after bundle. In fact, one man sprayed money to the extent that he slapped the groom with a bundle of dollar bills. It was a rain of money. You would notice there was hardly anyone packing money inside a polythene bag like the regular owambe of Yoruba people, where aso-ebi ladies will be struggling to hide some into their bras and micro bags as they dance. A wealthy Igbo man’s wedding is like the grand convergence of “Agba ballers.”

The catchphrase, Agba Baller, became a trend after the Super Falcon star, Asisat Oshoala, emerged as The African Women’s Player of the Year at the 2022 CAF Awards. Her admiration from football fans has since then gone viral as she is being referred to as an “Agba baller,” meaning a senior football legend. Agba Baller describes someone influential and powerful. It describes someone who is a boss in their own right. The famous Afro-highlife singer Flavour took the Agba Baller slang to another level when he released his single, “Big Baller,” which describes the extravagant lifestyle of affluent Africans.

The Agba Baller’s lifestyle is a display of luxury and extravagance. The kind of lifestyle that will spend millions in a club in one night, spray loads of cash at a party, drive the most expensive cars and live a premium lifestyle. There are people wealthy enough to afford the lifestyle of a baller without stress, while there are those who live above their means to measure up to the Agba Baller lifestyle. For some, their Agba Baller moment is the first week their salary is paid when they satisfy all the expensive cravings they have had during the month. Salary week is a balling week, while the rest of the month is for Sapa, robbing Peter to pay Paul, but for the real Agba Ballers, it is premium or nothing. Their account balance is as long as the letters of shokolokobangoshe.

Agba Ballers are typically young men who live a lavish lifestyle, are unrestrainedly proud of their successes, and are easily recognizable by their flashy cars, designer clothing, and an almost ritualistic presence at high-end events and clubs. As an Agba Baller, life is a constant series of moments to be celebrated, and their vocabulary is a testament to their larger-than-life persona. These phrases are more than mere slang; they are a reflection of a distinct lifestyle characterized by affluence, confidence, and a penchant for the spectacular Agba Baller spotlight.

E choke, a phrase popularized by Nigerian singer, Davido, sometimes signifies showing off the acquisition of outrageously expensive things in a bid to oppress, usually followed by a moment of overwhelming excitement or surprise from fans and followers alike. For an Agba Baller, this could mean anything from an unexpected financial windfall resulting in “balling” without remorse. It is an expression that captures the thrill and unpredictability of their extravagant lives. When Agba Baller says funds day, they are affirming their financial capability. This declaration is often followed by actions that demonstrate their wealth—like footing the bill for an entire party or gifting friends and family with expensive items. Spending is another key term in their lexicon, and it is both a verb and a lifestyle. To an Agba Baller, money is meant to be spent, and the act of spending is as much about enjoyment as it is about status. The word “shutdown” encapsulates the essence of an Agba Baller’s presence at social gatherings. When they say they are going to “shut down an event,” they mean it in the most literal sense—they plan to be the highlight, ensuring that their presence is felt and remembered. This might involve renting out an entire venue, arriving with an entourage, or simply outshining everyone with their style and charisma.

The daily life of an Agba Baller is a blend of business acumen and social prowess. Many of them are successful entrepreneurs, entertainers, or influencers who have carved out niches for themselves in various industries, while for some, their source of wealth is unknown. Their mornings often start with a visit to the gym or a personal trainer, ensuring they maintain a physique that complements their stylish wardrobe. Meetings with business partners, brainstorming sessions for new ventures, or recording sessions in the studio are common afternoon activities. Evenings are reserved for socializing, whether it is attending a high-profile event, hosting a lavish dinner, or simply relaxing with friends at an exclusive lounge.

Fashion is another crucial aspect of the Agba Baller lifestyle. They are often seen sporting the latest trends from top designers, and their outfits are meticulously curated to reflect their status. From custom-made suits to limited-edition sneakers, every item is chosen with care, ensuring they always look impeccable. An Agba Baller’s Instagram feed is often a visual journey through some of the world’s most exotic locations. They travel not just for leisure but to network, explore business opportunities, and, of course, enjoy the finest things life has to offer. Whether it is a private jet to an island in Portugal or a first-class flight to the Bahamas, travel is both a symbol and a reward for their hard work and success. They are always in and out of Nigeria as if they are on work shifts.

As much as it is okay to earn and spend your money as you like, the urge to be an Agba Baller has put some people in serious gbege. What sense does it make to live up to expectations just because you are perceived to be rich at your own expense? You are hailed as afunimawobe, the surest and most generous, but all of your generosity is incurring debt by the minute. You are borrowing money to be generous, to live a large life, just to earn a silly title from human beings who do not really ‘send’ you. Then you gradually begin to sink into worry, anxiety and depression until you eventually do the unthinkable just to keep up with the Joneses because every day is an opportunity to shine brighter than the last and explore more. Agba Baller is one.

Just as is with our leaders, there are a lot of misplaced priorities roaming about, one of which is this. Many of your Agba Ballers are into fraud, money laundering and shady businesses with a legal business as a front, and you see them as the pinnacle of success, your mentors, living the life of your dreams. Iranu! All of these tags and labels are absolutely unnecessary, and if we are being honest with ourselves, the actual, real, extremely wealthy Agba Ballers are not constantly in your faces on social media or anywhere, showing off their legally earned wealth. But then, do what works for you, as long as it makes you happy. Or how do you kids say it?

Agba Baller,

How much is money? (It’s nothing)

Balling, balling,

Premium or nothing…

Relax with this:

PS: This piece was inspired by multiple visits to Obi Cubana in Abuja and Lagos. I also stayed at Obi Cubana in Lagos. A great joint!


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